Humbly Report, The Machines are Here

We’re Going Parabolic We’ve arrived at an absolutely unique and critical turning point in human history resulting from an imminent full realization of the capabilities of machines (i.e. where we currently sit on the curve of Moore’s Law), Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee argue in The Second Machine Age. Their case is rhetorically bolstered by …

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Stuck

A man and a woman, a guy and a gal, a gentleman and a dame—they enter a room. A few months later, they go to leave and discover the woman can’t fit through the door. I get you. Preggers. Alea iacta est. A snake enters a mouse den– –do they call them den’s? Your snake …

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4 Questions for Marianne del Cerriota

Marianne del Cerriota, M.D. is a senior fellow at the Kassel Institute for Bio-Economic Policy, a think-tank in San Diego. del Cerriota is a respected authority on bioeconomics issues at the frontier of medicine and technology, most notably generative medicine and semantic bio-diagnostic research. Author or editor of 14 books as well as a chapbook …

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Freshman Composition as a Window into College Prep

Freshman composition evolved from Harvard’s English 8—a course in which students read “great literature” and applied New Critical methods to analyze it. The course focused on close reading, Literature appreciation, and argument—though the last in only a very narrow sense, since it was argument restricted to the terms set forth in the piece of literature. The …

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Paling Kings

“Most of us are allowed to go through the span of life allotted to us in actuarial tables.” from The Echo newspaper, November 1, 1869 Except the tables don’t tell the whole tale, do they? There are also qualitative burdens—especially when it comes to certain folks, say for example kings, who: …must bear all. O …

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Democratization of Language

Subtitle: Have you ever seen the phrase “piacular recompense” and the word “stuff” (the noun variety) in the same sentence? After Tuesday there will be no more President Bush press conferences. During these linguistic spectacles, the Harvard- and Yale-educated oil-tycoon scion sometimes dropped the “g’s” off his gerunds and uttered phrases such as “We’re gonna …

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Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton

In a radio interview, Tracy Kidder, who’s written quite a few good books and at least one important one, advocated for a sort of Maxwell’s demon approach to book reading. He divides books into two main categories: books in which he has interest and books in which he does not. He went on to say …

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Already There

One of the difficulties of diagnosing contemporary US culture is that we lack perspective. Here’s a helpful ichthyological fable I heard somewhere: Two young little fish are swimming around and they come across a big older fish who asks, “How’s the water, boys?” The little guys are unsure of how to respond and they swim …

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